Gallinari—who has struggled with a sprained wrist and only scored a combined 18 points this season shooting 21 percent from the field—ended his offensive freeze in the first quarter and didn’t look back.
The Italian forward came alive midway through the quarter, scoring 10 straight Knicks points, including a 3-pointer, jump shot, dunk, and a couple of foul shots.
“The guy’s a good shooter, he just has to calm down and keep shooting. That’s what we talked about, and he did it,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said of Gallinari to TNT.
“I don’t have to think too much especially on the offensive end,” Gallinari said. “I just try to play my game and try to be aggressive.”
The Knicks finished the first half up 70–52 after being up by as much as 21 points. They controlled the tempo and shot an impressive 6–9 from downtown.
Amar’e Stoudemire and reserve guard Toney Douglas each had 12 points at the half, while the Bulls were led by Taj Gibson with 14 points.
Bulls point guard Derrick Rose had a memorable two-handed dunk in the first half, flying through the air with an arched back and the ball behind his head. It will likely go down as one of the best of the season by a point guard.
Rose would finish the night with 24 points and 14 assists to lead the Bulls.
The Bulls would make several pushes in the third and fourth quarters, at one point scoring eight points off four straight Knicks turnovers in the third quarter. Stoudemire was plagued with eight turnovers for the night.
But the Knicks made up with their sloppiness with great shooting.
“We’ve got to take care of the ball in the paint and react out and still get out on their threes,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told TNT at the start of the fourth quarter.
And 3-pointers the Knicks did shoot. They finished the night shooting 16–24 from deep, with Raymond Felton hitting four and Douglas sticking five.
Douglas ended up leading the game in scoring with 30 points with Gallinari only scoring three points in the second half.
The Bulls ran away with a 10–0 run to pull back within nine points just past the midpoint of the fourth quarter aided by some sharp 3-point shooting from Kyle Korver, but they couldn’t make up the deficit and the Knicks got the win.